Lower Elementary: Ages 5–8 or Grades K–3 (In-person)

We continue to find flexible and adaptive new ways to meet the needs of children and families. Our emphasis is on providing inquiry-based environmental and outdoor education programs for small groups.  Our programs, as always, are focused on learning from nature, but we are placing a heightened focus on meeting the need children have for unstructured time with their peers. It is essential to children’s social-emotional development and general sense of well-being to be able to play and be free outside with each other!  

Winter programs will be mostly outdoors with short portions indoors, to allow for warm ups and a longer duration program.  While inside everyone will be required to be masked.  We will attempt to limit indoor eating to more extreme weather but if we do eat inside everyone will be socially distanced by at least 6 feet. 

Programs may also be viewed in a calendar.

Registration for Winter 2022 programs will open on December 7. 

A note about registration: Many of our programs fill quickly, so we highly recommend registering on the waiting list. We go to this list first if a space opens up. And by adding your name, you can help us better plan for the programs that are in high demand.

Afterschool Programs

Junior Nature Play Afterschool Series WINTER

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 5-7 or Grades K-1
Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30pm
January 12 – March 16 (no program February 23)
Extended Days on February 16 & March 9
Fee per Child: Tier A-$330 | Tier B-$264 | Tier C-$198  | Tier D-$132
Limited to 10 participants

Hitchcock’s Junior Nature Play Afterschool Program is designed to let kids be kids. Together we will run, jump, climb, invent, imagine, play and be free-range kids all while developing self-confidence and learning valuable social skills. During Winter Junior Nature Play we will explore snowy wooded trails and fields, make snow villages, and sled down the HCE hill!  Our instructors provide a safe setting for children to explore nature and encourage children to stretch their limits.

Nature Play Afterschool Series WINTER

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3
Mondays, 3:30-5:30pm
January 10 – March 14 (no program January 17 or February 21)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$245 | Tier B-$196 | Tier C-$147  | Tier D-$98
Limited to 12 participants

-OR-

With Monya Relles
Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30pm
January 11 – March 15 (no program February 22)
Tier A:$271 | Tier B:$217 | Tier C:$163 | Tier D:$109
Limited to 12 participants

-OR-

With Jeff Mazur
Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30pm
Extended Days on February 16 & March 9 (no program on February 23)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$322 | Tier B-$257 | Tier C-$193  | Tier D-$123
Limited to 12 participants

Hitchcock’s Nature Play Afterschool Program is designed to let kids be kids. Together we will run, jump, climb, invent, imagine, play and be free-range kids all while developing self-confidence and learning valuable social skills. In Winter Nature Play After School we will explore snowy wooded trails and fields, make snow villages, and sled down the HCE hill. Our instructors provide a safe setting for children to explore nature and encourage children to stretch their limits.

Girls into the Wild Winter

with Katie Koerten
Ages 8–11 or Grades 3–5
Thursdays, 3:30-5:30pm
January 13 – March 17 (no program February 24)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$271 | Tier B-$217| Tier C-$163  | Tier D-$109
Limited to 12 participants

Join us in winter 2022 for more romping wildly through the field and forests of the Hitchcock Center. As always we’ll visit our favorite places to play in the forest, such as Stump City, the Ferns, and the Faraway Woods – exploring the seasonal beauty of nature as we go. Play games, make friends, and create nature projects outdoors! Come build your confidence and show your wild side! Any young people with an experience of gender marginalization are welcome!

Homeschool Programs

Homeschool I: From Raindrop to Reservoir
With Monya Relles
Ages 6-8, Grades 1-3
Tuesdays 10am-2pm
March 8 – June 7 (No program Mar 15, Apr 26, and May 24 for Discovery Days, no class April 19 for April Vacation Week)
Tier A: $732 Tier B: $586 Tier C: $439 Tier D: $293
Limited to 12 participants

In Homeschool I: Raindrop to Reservoir, we will dive into the exciting world of water. We will explore how all life depends on water, how we humans use water in our daily life, and how we can connect water to our on-site living building. We will approach learning with outdoor play, hands-on activities, journaling, songs, and more.

Discovery Days

Owl-Ology

With Monya Relles
January 11, 10am – 2pm
Ages 6-12 or grades 1st – 6th
Tier A:$76 Tier B:$61 Tier C:$46 Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participants

Who, who, who will we be studying this discovery day? Owls! We will learn all about owl, play owl games, practice our owl calls and even dissect some pellets. Get your silent wings on and fly on over!

We All Depend On Trees

With Jeff Mazur
Ages 6-12, Grades 1 – 6
January 25, 10am – 2pm
Ages 6-12 or grades 1st – 6th
Tier A:$76 Tier B:$61 Tier C:$46 Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participant

Trees are all around us, but what do we actually know about them? Join us as we meet some trees, and find out what they offer to us and what we can learn from them.

Animal Detectives: Uncovering Animal Tracks & Signs

With Jeff Mazur
Ages 6-12, Grades 1 – 6
February 8, 10am – 2pm
Ages 6-12 or grades 1st – 6th
Tier A:$76 Tier B:$61 Tier C:$46 Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participant

Today you will become an animal detective! Together we’ll identify tracks, read signs, and study scat as we learn what these fascinating clues can tell us about the animals in our own backyards!

Seeing double: Biomimicry

With Monya Relles
March 15, 10am-2pm
Ages 6-12, Grades 1 – 6
Tier A:$76 | Tier B:$61 | Tier C:$46 | Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participants

How can we learn from the living things around us? We will be practicing building like animals, moving like animals, and even learning like animals on this day full of games, buildings, and fun! 

Building Pollinator Gardens

With Monya Relles
April 26, 10am-2pm
Ages 6-12, Grades 1 – 6
Tier A:$76 | Tier B:$61 | Tier C:$46 | Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participants

Come work with us on our pollinator gardens as we think, learn and play about pollinators. We’ll plant flowers, play in the garden, and hopefully enjoy the warm spring weather.

Wild About Weather

With Jeff Mazur
Ages 6-12, Grades 1 – 6
May 24, 10am – 2pm
Ages 6-12 or grades 1st – 6th
Tier A:$76 Tier B:$61 Tier C:$46 Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participant

Whether you have your head in the clouds, or enjoy singing in the rain, we will have a fun filled day learning about weather.

Family Programs

Second Saturday Family Science Winter/Spring(In-Person Outside)

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 5–7, Grades  K–1
Saturdays, 10–11am
January 8th, February 12th, March 12th, April 9th, May 7th*, and June 11th
Suggested Donation: $5–$30 per family

*The Saturday Science on May 7th has been moved to the first Saturday of May due to space availability.

Join us for seasonal nature and science programs each second Saturday of the month. Designed for children (ages 5–7) with their parents, these programs will explore cool topics in nature.  

January 8th: Living With Bears

Have you ever seen a bear in your neighborhood? Massachusetts’ only native species of bear, the black bear, is an amazing and often misunderstood animal. Join us as we learn about how they live and how we can safely share their habitat with them.

February 12th: Tracks and Traces 

While we’re bundled up inside there is still a lot going on outside in Winter! We know this because the animals leave us clues! What tales can animals tell us by looking at what they leave behind?

March 12th: Plants in Winter

Some plants die in the Winter, others retreat unseen below the ground, still others seem completely unchanged.  Learn about the adaptations of different plants in Winter time and investigate some evergreens in an attempt to understand their survival strategies.

April 9th: Vernal Pools

Also called “ephemeral pools” these Spring habitats are teeming with life and only around for part of the year! As the world thaws, come explore the life of these unique and beautiful places. 

*May 7th: Wind and Air

We can’t hold them or see them, but they’re all around us! This month at the Hitchcock Center we’ll make the invisible visible by examining wind and air at work.  We’ll be making our own wind catchers and learning about our relationship to wind and air.

June 11th: Poisonous or Venomous

What’s the difference between poisonous and venomous? Where do these toxins come from? How do plants and animals use their toxins? In this Saturday Science we will explore the answers to these questions with hands-on activities, games, and nature exploration. 

COVID-19 Safety

Read our complete COVID-19 Program Participant Guidelines.

Our programs are designed to be fun and engaging and above all safe. The COVID-19 program guidelines are designed to help protect everyone as we meet the strict health and safety requirements of the CDC and our state. Please take the time to read the information thoroughly. If you feel that you or your child(ren) cannot follow these guidelines, we ask that you wait until these restrictions have been lifted to join one of our programs or events. We may change our guidelines to reflect new guidance from CDC and Massachusetts.

Fees

Given this time of financial hardship for our community and our organization, we are offering a new sliding scale fee structure aimed to provide greater flexibility in choosing a price that is right for you and your family.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment